For some reason, I really like Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees (it may just be that they are somewhat out of the ordinary, as am I). These are the trees that you see in Louisiana swamps. However, they can thrive in quite a few other environments, and I have a lot of them on my property. On last count, it is something like twelve trees, many of which are along my creek.
We’ve been having a lot of rain here in central Ohio, and my creek has been doing some major flowing (at least for it). Here’s a shot after a recent rain of about one inch:
You can see one of my bald cypresses on the left there, and a willow tree on the right. Both trees do not mind a bit of wet.
One of the cool things about bald cypresses is that they don’t have perfectly round trunks, but the trunks have these ridges running down them. You can see that here:
Another cool thing is that they also develop what are called “knees”. These are running roots that then stick up out of the ground (or water, if the cypresses are in water). There is a theory that these knees help the roots get air when they are in swamps, but this had not been confirmed, and there is quite a bit of doubt that this is the reason. But they are still really interesting. Here’s a picture of the knees for one my my bald cypresses, with the knees arising in my creek:
Another interesting feature of bald cypresses is that they are about the only conifers that lose their leaves in the winter. Hence the name “bald”. [On the converse side, "Live Oaks" are oak trees that keep their leaves in the winter, hence the name "live", since they look living when other trees have lost their leaves.]
Bald cypresses can actually live in pretty cold environments and don’t even need swampy or wet conditions. They even do pretty good in drought conditions. So, why aren’t they more widespread? It’s because they are out-competed in other locations.
Finally, here’s a look at my creek in more normal conditions, after the rains had subsided.
By the end of summer, there is a good chance that my creek will be completely dry, or reduced to a minor pool just above the little waterfall. When it gets to that condition, the pool ends up being filled with small fish that have nowhere else to go.